‘We need to reach people’s hearts’


ADVOCATES: Around 2,500 people participated in the 12th annual San Diego Walk for Life, led by Cardinal Robert W. McElroy and, from left, Auxiliary Bishops Felipe Pulido, Ramón Bejarano and Michael Pham. (Credit: David Maung)

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SAN DIEGO — Cardinal Robert W. McElroy told the estimated 2,500 participants in the San Diego Walk for Life that their mission was greater than walking a few blocks that day.

“We’re called not just to march, and not just to talk with one another today, but rather coming out of this to understand that in our lives, in our families, in our relationships, we’re called to witness to the sanctity of human life, particularly of unborn children,” he told the crowd.

He was the final of five speakers at the  12th annual event, which included about 50 exhibitors, held Jan. 13 at Waterfront Park in San Diego.

The cardinal told the participants that, as disciples, they were called to “transform the world in which we live, so that no unborn child will have to fear anymore that they may never see life as God intended them.”

He warned that this transformation would take a long time “because we need to reach into people’s hearts so that it won’t matter what people’s politics are and it won’t matter what people’s predispositions are. All that will matter is the understanding we are dealing with human life.”

Families, parents holding babies, parish and ministry groups, and high school and college students, from diverse backgrounds, joyously walked the heavily transited mile route.

Among them were 20 members of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, who were participating for the second year in a row, said Vi Salazar, one of their leaders. They came from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Holy Family, Good Shepherd, Holy Spirit, and St. Thomas More parishes.

Thirty members of Dons for Life, Cathedral Catholic High School’s pro-life group, walked near the front of the walkers. Marissa Smith, a senior, was one of them.

“We’re standing up for those that don’t have a voice in the community,” she said. “And I just think that being here and being their voice and advocating for them and for their lives is really important.”

Find more information and a photo gallery at

Photos by David Maung

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